Arguing that Global Warming exists

Brian G Turner

Fantasist & Futurist
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I used to read New Scientist every week in the late 1990's.

All through that time, climate scientists were warning that observational evidence suggested that not only had humanity adversely impact climate conditions, but that those climate conditions would adversely impact
humanity.

It was science, pure and simple, with the motive of measuring current observations against past records and future predictions.

Trouble is, the root of the observation was based in heavy industry contributing heavily to Global Warming. The oil industry particularly.

As the observations mounted up, so it became political.

The trouble is, the political issue was this - the warning entailed that industrial activity be curtailed, modified, or else compensated for.

That meant that we either face the threat of Global Warming responsibly - or else those interested parties should debunk the whole issue.

And now we're in the ridiculous situation where climate scientists are being debunked as either leftist troublemakers, or else even in the pocket of some mysterious multinational company.

Do people realise that the biggest shares on the London stock exchange belong overwhelmingly to oil companies? In fact, companies such as BP are so huge that their entire market value dwarfs most of the rest of the FTSE 100 companies together?

And that's just in Britain.

Point is, the weird argument coming from anti-Global Warming campaigners is that oil companies are our friends. We need them. And anything that says those big ol' sweet and fluffy oil companies are bad must be evil rubbish distributed by anarchists.

So now we're in a propaganda war, with science being used as a tool against science.

Anyone else here remember reading about how in the 1950's tobacco companies set up false studies and released scientific papers "proving" that tobacco wasn't harmful?

After all, you can statistically "prove" that cigarettes don't give people cancer - just that people prone to cancer are more likely to smoke. I mean, seriously, all those Type A personalities...

I think we're seeing the exact same obfuscation from heavy industries here, trying to exonerate themselves in the fact of continuing pressure.

As someone who watched the developments before the politics really kicked in, I can honestly say that the whole anti-Global Warming charade disgusts me.

Sure, the anti-Global Warming campaigners can put forward some pretty convincing sounding arguments. Trouble is, it's the same method I read from pro-Creationism ridiculing science. And it takes a really good understanding of the subject to counter the baseless attacks on real science.

Most of us were probably taught that evolution probably explains the diversification of species to some degree, and in accepting that as fact, it's easier to see innate problems in Creationist rants against evolutionary theory.

Climatology, though, has no such advantage - and so the arguments against can really weigh against our knowledge of the subject much more easily.

Maybe one day we'll be able to treat science as science.

In the meantime, there are plenty of people who seem to be graduating out of the same kind of school that says Global Warming is a conspiracy, evolution a fraud, and cigarettes are good for you.

I'm just bloody glad I never went there.

2c. :)
 
Good post Brian.

I think oil companies know that the writing is on the wall, just as tobacco companies did over lung cancer in the 1950's. They're fighting a rear-guard action as best they can and reaping in the profits whilst the going remains good.

The evidence continues to mount, however. It's going to be a tough, dirty, fight with a lot of casualties.
 
Absolutely correct guys.

However, to look at the positive side (and no one will ever accuse me of being a Pollyanna!), even though these entities have thrown the vast weight of their political and financial power into suppressing this information and perverting political poilcy to accomodate their bottomlines, we have made progress in not only informing the public, but also forcing our governments to do something about the problem.

Although it's infuriating to know that some portions of the populace still buy into the oil cartel's propaganda, the tide is beginning to turn. Let's hope that it's not too late for our species.
 
To young to remember the 50's tobacco issues, but it has been now proven that smoking is not good for you, its what killed my dad. He died from emphasemia from years of smoking, he realised it to but it was to late for him.

Oil companies are reaping what they can before we all go down, literally through rising sea levels. Hey it won't affect them, so why should they worry about global warming, they make a fortune from it, why bite the hand that feeds you so to speak.

Curt I wish I had your optimism but I don't see to many changes taking place yet!
 
Hey, someone just called me an optimist! I guess there's a first time for everything! :D

Well, getting the wheels of progress going and reversing this situtaion is going to be agonizingly slow - too slow for my tastes, that's for sure. And those thugs running the oil companies (and ruining our world in the process) are going to fight us tooth and nail all the way.

We have to keep up the pressure and let them know that the people have their focus trained on them and will give no quarter. We've danced to their tune long enough - it's now time for some role reversal.

I'm reminded of what stunning victories the Bolivian people achieved against the very powerful corporate interests who had privatized the rights to their drinking water. I mean, they were charging the people usurious rates for a basic resource, a fundamental neccessity. They took to the streets and won. This moment in history remains a wellspring of inspiration for me, showing how powerful we all are when we work together in a united front to wrest control of our future away from tyrants.
 
In my view next year is extremely important. We we very unlucky to have Bush in the White House at a time when global warming started to become an important issue. The new president and the next eight years are going to be crucial for all our futures.

What we need now is leadership - let's hope we get it.
 
Oil companies do make a big fat soft target don't they?

And yes it is true that they do have a lot of political clout everywhere they don't own, but let us consider the people who gave them that clout...

Hello... wake up... YOU!

Along with the other 4 billion people that live on our little mud ball planet.

Everything you wear, eat, drink and touch is reliant on the oil industry, if not directly like an environmentalists imitation, 'Made in ROC' jeans and poly-cotton 'Ban the Bomb' tee-shirt, then indirectly because your organically grown strawberries have been flown in from Spain. We won't say anything about the drive to Tesco/Walmart to buy them.

I will not apologise for the oil companies, there are aspects of their business that do need regulation and control and I think the scientists are right about global warming, but then I believed them when they said North Sea oil would have run out by 1985 (prophesies doom often enough and you will be right eventually). But to condemn them out of hand for producing something essential, without consideration to why we have made it essential is at best two-faced.

The real problem is that the scientists have teamed up with environmentalists. The thing about environmentalists is they are devoid of any form of creative or logical thought and have an intellectual lexicon consisting of one word 'No'.

Want to build a power station?
“Hello Mr Green. You think there is a problem with global warming. Yes I am sure we can replace it with something sustainable. I'll build a wind plant instead.”
“Oh hello Mr Green, nice to see you again. As you can see the towers for your wind plant are arriving today... Ah. You think there is a problem with environmental impact?”

All made rather worse when I know that my local veggie chomping green activist has just had the latest 60” 200 Mega Watt home cinema installed.


Between them they are not offering me a practical alternative beyond going to bed when the sun goes down, hunting with a stone club, eating ferocious maneating squirrels and generally living the stone-age equivalent of the good life.

Now the government is getting involved and in the usual way, it is a potential revenue source. It is entirely up to me to reduce the 7.5 tonnes of CO2 they say I produce every year (already 2.5 lower than the average household of my size) to get to the efficiency they require (5 tonnes).
I do not live an extravagant life style either- I walk to work, go shopping once every 3-4 weeks, only heat the water I use, only the lounge and bathroom are ever heated and only then when I am in them, I can barely get in the loft for the insulation, put out all of a carrier bag full of rubbish per week, energy saving bulbs, nothing on stand by etc.
To cut back to what they say I'm allowed to produce, I am getting close to stone clubs and squirrels again, except I think even grey ones are protected now.
I suppose I could cut out the decadent things like bathing and breathing?

So don't tell me there is a problem. Tell me what I can do about it?
 
It's not so much what you as an individual can do (though that is important too) it is what you do to ensure that others are doing their parts. Don't patronise the store that refuses to buy local produce, spend your money at the retailers that do their part, recycle your used items, buy used items rather than new, reuse disposable items more than once, tell your local government and retailers what things are important to you, stop eating meat, eat foods grown and raised without pesticides and fewer fossil fuels burned in their growth, convince others, spread the word.

Here is a rather not fun article that relates to this discussion:
http://www.richardheinberg.com/museletter/185
 
Some of what Dwndrgn says almost makes sense, until you start thinking about it.
To consider a couple of claims:-

Recycle used items. Very good idea. But what happens to them?
60% of all iron reclaimed in Europe is thrown on a boat bound for China. Why?
Because they don't have any form of environmental controls, so burning the paint and tin off metal isn't a problem. All you have done is ship the problem on to somebody else. While a few ecological disasters in China may not be of direct or great concern to anybody in Florida, there are after all a lot Chinese people, it is unfortunate that we share the same planet.

Buy used items rather than new and you inherit somebodyelses problem.
Take a refridgerator. By the time it is 10 years old only about 10% of the refridgerant is left in there. Not only is it not going to work, it is costing 10 times more to proving it.

You could of course buy the latest energy efficient appliance. But you have to be careful there too. Because they are all made in China, where they don't care, many of these 'Energy Efficient' items actually cause more environmental damage in their manufacture and disposal than their less 'Green' alternatives. Laptops are a classic example. There is more energy used in building a laptop than can be recovered against the higher power use of a desktop, and that is before you consider the battery, which is quite capable of destroying all life over a twenty mile area when it leaks into the water table.

Stop eating meat. What twaddle!
Being a vegetarian is a personal thing and has no bearing what so ever on the environment.
In our petro-chemical-free future, cattle are going to be even more important part of the diet, if only because a sizable area of the land is only able to support animals, and the output from pesticide and fertilizer free farms, already about 30% lower than elsewhere, cannot be sustained without their by-products!
That said, in the West we throw away half the food we produce, the loss of a third of all production is possibly not a great loss. Just the diet becomes more monotonous. Elsewhere (Parts of Africa and extents of the old USSR) the population subsist on the equivalent of two packs of crisps per day because they can't grow enough. That is more a political logistics problem than environmental concern.

I'm sorry but you are going to have to do better than that?
 
Some of what Dwndrgn says almost makes sense, until you start thinking about it.
To consider a couple of claims:-

Recycle used items. Very good idea. But what happens to them?
60% of all iron reclaimed in Europe is thrown on a boat bound for China. Why?
Because they don't have any form of environmental controls, so burning the paint and tin off metal isn't a problem. All you have done is ship the problem on to somebody else. While a few ecological disasters in China may not be of direct or great concern to anybody in Florida, there are after all a lot Chinese people, it is unfortunate that we share the same planet.
I'm not talking absolutes and I'm not saying that it is possible to recycle everything. Recycle what you can, educate yourself as to what can be recycled and what cannot and/or should not. If 60% of all reclained iron in Europe is sent to China (which sounds wrong to me, it seems like that would be the costliest option but I certainly don't know) then tell the people who do this not to. Make sure they are aware of what they are doing and that the people in charge of them know what they are doing and so on. Write to the paper, tell the civic leaders, get a group together.

Buy used items rather than new and you inherit somebodyelses problem.
Take a refridgerator. By the time it is 10 years old only about 10% of the refridgerant is left in there. Not only is it not going to work, it is costing 10 times more to proving it.
Obviously not all items are going to be this way. Non chemical and non mechanical items are the ones that are reused best. Furniture, clothes, props, art, etc. This is stuff that should be reused.

You could of course buy the latest energy efficient appliance. But you have to be careful there too. Because they are all made in China, where they don't care, many of these 'Energy Efficient' items actually cause more environmental damage in their manufacture and disposal than their less 'Green' alternatives. Laptops are a classic example. There is more energy used in building a laptop than can be recovered against the higher power use of a desktop, and that is before you consider the battery, which is quite capable of destroying all life over a twenty mile area when it leaks into the water table.
This is why education is so important. Know what you are buying, who makes it and how.

Stop eating meat. What twaddle!
Being a vegetarian is a personal thing and has no bearing what so ever on the environment.
In our petro-chemical-free future, cattle are going to be even more important part of the diet, if only because a sizable area of the land is only able to support animals, and the output from pesticide and fertilizer free farms, already about 30% lower than elsewhere, cannot be sustained without their by-products!
Well, it may be twaddle to you but all of the information I've gleaned over the past year proves to me that today's meat farming methods including pesticides, water, mechanical labor, wastes etc. destroys more land and water reserves than paper factories. Do a little research yourself and you may be surprised. Vegetable farming is also damaging but not nearly so as meat farming. Yes, vegetarianism is a personal thing - so is environmentalism, catholicism, any other ism. Everything we do in this life is personal.

That said, in the West we throw away half the food we produce, the loss of a third of all production is possibly not a great loss. Just the diet becomes more monotonous. Elsewhere (Parts of Africa and extents of the old USSR) the population subsist on the equivalent of two packs of crisps per day because they can't grow enough. That is more a political logistics problem than environmental concern.

I'm sorry but you are going to have to do better than that?
I'm not sure what you question is here so I'll just leave it.
 
Being a bit(!) of a cynic, I suspect that governments will decide that big oil is bad, and pay its owners vast sums of money in compensation for forcing them out of this business, just as the last few drops of oil dribble up to the surface.

But then, I'm not much of an optimist either.:)
 
Oil companies do make a big fat soft target don't they?

Would you suggest the same sympathy for tobacco companies?

It's not intended as a direct comparison - I just personally think it's a pointless opener.

And yes it is true that they do have a lot of political clout everywhere they don't own, but let us consider the people who gave them that clout...

Hello... wake up... YOU!

Well, we live in a society dependent on the industrial and production technologies available. As we can't use fusion power yet...


But to condemn them out of hand for producing something essential, without consideration to why we have made it essential is at best two-faced.

I don't think we're condemning oil companies, are we? I figure let's blame the politicians for representing their wallets, rather than their voters?


The real problem is that the scientists have teamed up with environmentalists. The thing about environmentalists is they are devoid of any form of creative or logical thought and have an intellectual lexicon consisting of one word 'No'.

I'd personally say that smacks of complete crap.

Environmentalists who've helped raise the message that, you know, it's not all that great to piss in our own water then try clean it up - that filling the atmosphere with toxic gases is probably not the best idea - that wanton destruction of natural habitats, the world's ecosystems, and biodiveristy may harm us in the long-run - I'd say that's nothing to claim as intellectually base. The reverse, yes.

Some environmentalists I'm sure can be extreme - it wouldn't be difficult to define them as a caricature. But that's all it would be.
Now the government is getting involved and in the usual way, it is a potential revenue source. It is entirely up to me to reduce the 7.5 tonnes of CO2 they say I produce every year (already 2.5 lower than the average household of my size) to get to the efficiency they require (5 tonnes).

Funnily enough, this is the government's idea. It's not private business or individuals that are getting fat off environmentalism - but HM Revenues and Customs who instead have seen fit to introduce new layers of tax, as they the exchequer seems to love to see them do.


So don't tell me there is a problem. Tell me what I can do about it?

Funnily enough, that's what environmentalism does. Acid rain exists! So let's cut down on the sulphur dioxide emissions. Global Warming exists! So let's cut down on the massive CO2 emissions...

Oops. Hit a political nerve, there.

Noticed the APACS group announce a commitment to protecting the environment against global warming, without any actual commitment. Just a load more polluting hot air...

2c. :)
 
Would you suggest the same sympathy for tobacco companies?
As a smoker, I accept the risks and benefits smoking offers, just as anybody who smokes should. So yes I would.
But I have never forced my consumption on those who do not smoke.

I don't think we're condemning oil companies, are we? I figure let's blame the politicians for representing their wallets, rather than their voters?
You are referring to one particular politician and he heads the government of the largest oil consumer market in the world?
Or perhaps you would include President Putin or Sultan bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud, as the largest oil producers in the world?
Or Chairman Mao, whose, for all his nasty tendencies, only sin, like Prime Minister Singh, is to try and improve stability and bring something akin to prosperity to his people and for them that means the environment sits somewhere behind the back seat?
I personally can't stand Prime Minister Brown. Leading a supposedly socialist leftward leaning party I struggle to think of anybody more right wing short of Cpl A Hitler, but I have to give him his due, he is not in any oil pocket.

Environmentalists who've helped raise the message that, you know, it's not all that great to piss in our own water then try clean it up - that filling the atmosphere with toxic gases is probably not the best idea - that wanton destruction of natural habitats, the world's ecosystems, and biodiveristy may harm us in the long-run - I'd say that's nothing to claim as intellectually base. The reverse, yes.
And I am grateful to them I'm sure for pointing out the dangers.
But it is those same environmentalists that have been complaining about global warming that turned out to complain about noise, habitat destruction and environmental pollution to nine different environmentally friendly power plants locally: A replacement nuclear plant (2000 made redundant), two tidal plants, two small hydro plants, three wind farms and an experimental solar plant. Okay, eight if you discount Wylfa B.
It was also environmentalists that helped stop development of fusion power in the late fifties as a joint project between Manchester University and Calder Hall's development team. The Government of the time was just itching to save money.
I am also mindful of a supertanker Shell wanted to scrap just a few years ago. Shell wanted to scrap it on the Clyde where the waste would have been contained and recycled in a relatively environmentally friendly way. In the end it went to India, where it is being broken up on an open beach. I confess I don't know how much waste oil gets left in the hull of a 250,000 tonne oil tanker at the end of its life. But you can check, it's bobbing around in the Indian Ocean.
Being obstructive is easy you just have to shout "Yaboo-sucks" and a lot of people are quite good at it.
Being constructive in a practical or realistic way is far more important and this has to-date not been something the environmental fraternity has been good at.

Some environmentalists I'm sure can be extreme - it wouldn't be difficult to define them as a caricature. But that's all it would be.
Caricature certainly, but caricature develops from repetition and environmentalists doing it certainly appear with monotonous regularity.

<In reply to:So don't tell me there is a problem. Tell me what I can do about it?.>
Funnily enough, that's what environmentalism does. Acid rain exists! So let's cut down on the sulphur dioxide emissions. Global Warming exists! So let's cut down on the massive CO2 emissions...
But those are not solutions, they are goals to be achieved!
It is akin to going to a doctor with a broken leg and being told not to stand on it when walking!
If we stopped breathing, then, after a few months for our bodies to decay, our CO2 emissions are zero. Job done!
But you must agree it is not an ideal way for us to go about it?
There has to be a means of achieving the goal, that we can apply, that does not immediately reduce us to the level of cavemen before they discovered fire, or dead?

Funnily enough, this is the government's idea. It's not private business or individuals that are getting fat off environmentalism - but HM Revenues and Customs who instead have seen fit to introduce new layers of tax, as they the exchequer seems to love to see them do.
At least we agree on something! :)
 
Heh, I think we can agree on the inconsistent messages as well - I've seen it up here in Scotland, that everyone's all for going green, unless the wind farms are placed nearby, the powerlines need upgrading, or similar. Suddenly different groups come out objecting to the environmental damage these would cause. But if they are that bad in the first place, why are they recommended as green solutions? :)
 
I used to read New Scientist every week in the late 1990's.

All through that time, climate scientists were warning that observational evidence suggested that not only had humanity adversely impact climate conditions, but that those climate conditions would adversely impact
humanity.

It was science, pure and simple, with the motive of measuring current observations against past records and future predictions.

Trouble is, the root of the observation was based in heavy industry contributing heavily to Global Warming. The oil industry particularly.

As the observations mounted up, so it became political.

The trouble is, the political issue was this - the warning entailed that industrial activity be curtailed, modified, or else compensated for.

That meant that we either face the threat of Global Warming responsibly - or else those interested parties should debunk the whole issue.

And now we're in the ridiculous situation where climate scientists are being debunked as either leftist troublemakers, or else even in the pocket of some mysterious multinational company.

Do people realise that the biggest shares on the London stock exchange belong overwhelmingly to oil companies? In fact, companies such as BP are so huge that their entire market value dwarfs most of the rest of the FTSE 100 companies together?

And that's just in Britain.

Point is, the weird argument coming from anti-Global Warming campaigners is that oil companies are our friends. We need them. And anything that says those big ol' sweet and fluffy oil companies are bad must be evil rubbish distributed by anarchists.

So now we're in a propaganda war, with science being used as a tool against science.

Anyone else here remember reading about how in the 1950's tobacco companies set up false studies and released scientific papers "proving" that tobacco wasn't harmful?

After all, you can statistically "prove" that cigarettes don't give people cancer - just that people prone to cancer are more likely to smoke. I mean, seriously, all those Type A personalities...

I think we're seeing the exact same obfuscation from heavy industries here, trying to exonerate themselves in the fact of continuing pressure.

As someone who watched the developments before the politics really kicked in, I can honestly say that the whole anti-Global Warming charade disgusts me.

Sure, the anti-Global Warming campaigners can put forward some pretty convincing sounding arguments. Trouble is, it's the same method I read from pro-Creationism ridiculing science. And it takes a really good understanding of the subject to counter the baseless attacks on real science.

Most of us were probably taught that evolution probably explains the diversification of species to some degree, and in accepting that as fact, it's easier to see innate problems in Creationist rants against evolutionary theory.

Climatology, though, has no such advantage - and so the arguments against can really weigh against our knowledge of the subject much more easily.

Maybe one day we'll be able to treat science as science.

In the meantime, there are plenty of people who seem to be graduating out of the same kind of school that says Global Warming is a conspiracy, evolution a fraud, and cigarettes are good for you.

I'm just bloody glad I never went there.

2c. :)

Brian I agree with almost all your points, but I don't agree with one in which because I don't believe in the theory of evolution..hence I don't believe in global warming. Global warning has been going on since the industrial age.

Other than that one point I am in agreement...and one other thing you don't have to be a scientist to open your eyes and look around and see the changes taking place around us. It's bad stuff...and hope we can fix it before it fixes us.
 
Brian I agree with almost all your points, but I don't agree with one in which because I don't believe in the theory of evolution..hence I don't believe in global warming. Global warning has been going on since the industrial age.

Other than that one point I am in agreement...and one other thing you don't have to be a scientist to open your eyes and look around and see the changes taking place around us. It's bad stuff...and hope we can fix it before it fixes us.

Actually global warming has been going on since the Ice Age or the world would still be covered in Ice.

(ps) To explain that better, think about when you cook a roast. 8-10 hours of slow, low heat cooking doesn't destroy the roast, dry it out, and suck out all the juices...it makes a good roast. But turn up the heat just fifty degrees, and you have a dry, burnt up, nutrient deficient roast.

Humans are just making it worse with all the pollutants (which I also believe is causing insanity in most of the population).
 
Actually global warming has been going on since the Ice Age or the world would still be covered in Ice.

(ps) To explain that better, think about when you cook a roast. 8-10 hours of slow, low heat cooking doesn't destroy the roast, dry it out, and suck out all the juices...it makes a good roast. But turn up the heat just fifty degrees, and you have a dry, burnt up, nutrient deficient roast.

Humans are just making it worse with all the pollutants (which I also believe is causing insanity in most of the population).

Dusty I agree....
 
And to think back in the sixties the scientists were predicting the next ice age would begin in the mid 21st Century!
 

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